The West

A new wave of 4G wireless broadband networks will eclipse the speed of some fibre plans before the National Broadband Network even rolls through Perth streets.

Testing of Telstra's 4G long-term evolution network in Perth, which is limited to areas close to the CBD, clocked average download speeds exceeding most ADSL2+ connections - and treble the speed of the cheapest NBN plan in one location.

As Telstra plans to expand the network's reach beyond the central area, Optus is busily rolling out its competing network in Perth, which is scheduled to launch within two months.

The West Australian tested Telstra's 4G network using a USB modem plugged into a laptop.

Riding on the CAT bus through West Perth, the central city and East Perth, we clocked average download speeds of about 18 megabits per second (Mbps). Upload speeds were a bit slower in most places, except West Perth where they averaged 21.14Mbps - double the "typical" maximum speed of 10Mbps Telstra has quoted in marketing material.

Next we took the modem to Victoria Park, where it achieved similar speeds to the CBD. The network extended up Albany Highway to the edges of East Victoria Park before dropping off to a 3G network.

Victoria Park will be one of the first suburbs to be connected to the NBN, which offers plans with speeds starting from 12Mbps and up to 100Mbps.

The northern end of Curtin University edged into the 4G coverage area, with a 7.91Mbps download speed, and the University of WA was well within limits, clocking 15.12Mbps.

Parked outside the Subiaco post office on Rokeby Road, speeds reached the highest for the day, with an average of 29.24Mbps. The single highest result was an eye-opening 36.36Mbps, likely because of the Telstra infrastructure spotted on top of the Australia Post building.

Given the network has only been in place since late last year and most Telstra customers do not have the technology to access it yet, it is possible The West was also the only user connecting to 4G in the area at that time. As more users sign up, congestion is likely to affect speeds.

The West Australian

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